How Can You Help Preventing Drug Abuse And Misuse
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Drug abuse and misuse is a major problem among seniors, as they have access to prescription drugs. However, at times, seniors may end up abusing and misusing drugs because they are encouraged by their caregivers, who want to have some peace and quiet. If you know a senior who is abusing and misusing drugs, there are ways you can help and prevent this from occurring in the future.
In order to prevent abuse and misuse, you first have to understand the associated risk factors. Seniors often have chronic ailments that require frequent medications. As a result, such seniors have access to prescription drugs that usually other people will not have. Furthermore, seniors are often alone and isolated due to their failing health and age; and in addition, they have to cope with loss of spouse, siblings, gainful employment and income. All these can be too much for a senior to handle and they may resort to drug abuse to escape from reality.
Many times it has been seen that seniors end up abusing drugs or even alcohol when they are faced with life changing events, like demise of a spouse or retirement. Seniors are more prone to abuse their medications, as they are unable to handle loss of their independence and possibility health and this may end up making them depressed. At times, caregivers may end up giving them higher dosage of medication, as this will make the person more controllable and easily manipulated. After all a sedated senior is easier to look after and will not make too many demands on the caregiver.
If you feel a senior is abusing and misusing prescription medication, it is time to speak to a qualified doctor, who has the knowledge about substance abuse among seniors. You can also consult a certified psychiatrist, who has the necessary experience in treating patients of substance abuse. If you are looking for a cheaper alternative, get in touch with counselors, who are certified to treat patients of substance abuse.
Furthermore, make sure that you keep a close watch on the senior person's prescription medication. This will allow you to gauge whether the person is abusing the drugs. Also, do not allow the person to get access to the medications without supervision. If you feel that a nursing staff is encouraging the abuse, then you can complain about the person to the authorities of the nursing home. If a family member is encouraging the abuse, speak to the person at once and dissuade him or her from giving overdosing the senior. Instead, spend more time with the senior person, so that they feel that they have someone to lean on emotionally. Be there to speak to the elderly person and assure them of all your support and love. Encourage them to socialize in a senior center or cultivate hobbies, so that they can spend time more meaningfully without feeling lonely or isolated. This will reduce the need to escape from reality and help to prevent drug abuse and misuse.
It also helps to ensure that the person is educated on the ills of drug abuse. This can be done by a doctor and through proper training programs targeted towards seniors. It often helps to educate seniors and when awareness comes in, the tendency to abuse drugs reduces.
What seniors need is proper emotional support and a need to feel wanted. If these are available, then the chances of abusing drugs diminish. So, as a sibling or child of the senior, you can involve the person in your life and make them feel wanted. Get them to baby sit for you while you go out shopping. If the person is mobile, you can ask them to help you around the house doing simple chores. Do not treat the person like an invalid when he or she is mobile. Remember, the person brought you up and did a fairly good job. So, the chances of failing in your home are minimal.
If these suggestions are taken into consideration, then the possibility of drug abuse and misuse will reduce significantly.
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eHow: The Elderly & Substance Abuse Prevention